Weight Loss Surgery Basics

Weight Loss Surgery Basics

Weight loss surgery is a last resort for people with a body mass index (BMI) over 35 who have tried other weight loss methods without lasting success.

Types of weight loss surgery

John Muir Health offers all available weight loss surgery options: Realize™ Band, vertical sleeve gastrectomy, Lap-Band®, Roux-en-Y (pronounced “roo-en-why,” also called RNY) gastric bypass, duodenal switch, and innovative revision procedures.

Some procedures are restrictive, which means they reduce the size of the stomach to decrease food intake. RNY gastric bypass and duodenal switch are called combination surgeries because they are also malabsorptive, which means they bypass part of the small intestine to decrease calories absorbed from food.

Risks and benefits

All the surgical procedures we offer have been studied and found to be effective for major long-term weight loss. All four also carry serious risks, both immediately after surgery and long afterward. You will need to discuss the particular risks of your surgery with your surgeon.

Patients who follow dietary guidelines generally lose three-quarters or more of their excess weight. While some patients do not reach an ideal body weight, most enjoy tremendous improvement in their health, appearance, self-esteem, mobility, and activity level.

Patients who closely follow dietary and exercise recommendations after surgery generally lose the majority of their excess weight. The significant weight loss after surgery is expected to improve or resolve diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and other weight-related health problems in the majority of patients. Gastric bypass specifically is considered to be the most effective surgical treatment for adult onset diabetes, and often improves blood sugar levels shortly after surgery.

Success habits

Long-term success requires major dietary and lifestyle changes beginning before and continuing after weight loss surgery—and for the rest of your life. Those who consistently implement these changes following surgery enjoy an extremely high success rate and the lowest chance of complications.

Dietary success habits:

  • Adopt a protein-focused diet
  • Eat three small, healthy meals daily
  • Avoid snacking and grazing
  • Eliminate sugary, starchy, and high-fat foods

Lifestyle success habits:

  • Do aerobic exercise at least four times a week
  • Begin a lifelong regimen of vitamin and mineral supplementation
  • Get regular blood tests to monitor health status
  • For gastric bypass, avoid using anti-inflammatory pain relievers